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Announcing Conductor Donato Cabrera’s Fall 2020 Season

“He's a passionate, heart-on-the-sleeve conductor, with eclectic musical tastes and a wealth of experience.” – San Jose Mercury News

Conductor Donato Cabrera’s fall 2020 season is his eighth with the California Symphony and seventh with the Las Vegas Philharmonic. As Music Director of both orchestras, Cabrera continues to work with California Symphony and Las Vegas Philharmonic to give performances in reimagined ways that keep musicians and audiences safe, and keep alive vibrant, exciting, high quality music in spite of COVID-19 restrictions. All of Cabrera’s fall engaging activities will be presented virtually.

California Symphony

California Symphony presents a series of 60-minute virtual performances, free to view online and on Walnut Creek TV, with a pre-concert interview with Maestro Cabrera and guest(s) beginning 30 minutes before the show.

Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 7pm PT– Virtuoso Vibrations


Robyn Bollinger, violin

California Symphony Wind Quintet: Meredith Brown, French horn; Laura Reynolds, oboe; Stacy Pelinka, flute; Carla Wilson, bassoon; Stephen Zielinski, clarinet

Paquito D’Rivera: Aires Tropicales

Bach: “Preludio” from Partita No. 3 in E Major

Katherine Balch: Two Songs for Robyn (2020)

Bartók: Sonata for Solo Violin

Claude Arrieu: Quintette en Ut

Saturday, November 14, 2020 at 7pm PT – It’s a Cello-bration!


Joshua Roman, cello

Members of the California Symphony strings section: Jennifer Cho, Concertmaster; Philip Santos, violin; Marcel Gemperli, viola; Leighton Fong, cello

Bach: “Prelude” from Suite No. 1 in G Major

Mark Summer: Julie-O

Penderecki: Capriccio per Siegfried Palm

Caroline Shaw: in manus tuas

Allison Loggins-Hull: Stolen

Joshua Roman: Duet

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: Fantasiestücke for String Quartet Op.5, mvt 1-3

Jennifer Higdon: Amazing Grace

Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 7pm PT – Season in Song


Kelley O'Connor, mezzo soprano

Nicholas Phan, tenor

California Symphony Brass Quintet: William Harvey, trumpet; Scott Macomber, trumpet; Meredith Brown, French horn; Don Benham, Principal trombone; Forrest Byram, Principal tuba

Handel: Joy to the World

Richard S. Willis: It Came Upon A Midnight Clear (arr. Forrest Byram)

O Hanukkah (arr. Forrest Byram)

Dreidel Song (arr. Forrest Byram)

Mel Torme: The Christmas Song

We Wish You a Merry Christmas (arr. Jack Gale)

Las Vegas Philharmonic

The Las Vegas Philharmonic has adapted its Spotlight Series to a digital livestream format, presented at The Space. The Spotlight Series features members of the orchestra in their favorite pieces for small ensembles, and the stories behind the music and the inspiration they’ve provided. Performances include conversations with Music Director Donato Cabrera and featured musicians, streamed into audiences’ personal home viewing theater. Tickets are $30, available at

Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 6pm PT – The Spotlight on Joy through Dances

Information & tickets:

Hui Lim, violin and Tiantian Lan, viola

Halvorsen: Sarabande con variazioni

Piazzolla: Tango Etude No.3 for Solo Violin

Ysaÿe: Sonata No. 4 in E Minor, Allemande

Mozart: Duo No. 2 in B flat Major for Violin and Viola, K424

Halvorsen: Passacaglia

Thursday, October 22, 2020 at 6pm PTThe Spotlight on The Colors & Reflections of Solo Violin

Information & tickets:

Mira Khomik, violin

Bach: Selections from Sonata in A Minor

Kreisler: Recitative and Scherzo

Boris Skalsky: Rhapsody

Zoltan Almashi: Graceful Mirage

Myroslav Skoryk: Caprice for Solo Violin

Thursday, November 5, 2020 at 6pm PTThe Spotlight on Sounds of Latin American Dances

Information & tickets:

Cory Tiffin, Principal clarinet; Janis McKay, Principal bassoon; and Alexandria Le, guest pianist

Miguel del Águila: Tango Trio Op. 71c

Guastavino: Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, 2nd and 3rd Movements

Castelnuovo–Tedesco: Sonatina for Bassoon and Piano, “Rondo alla marcia”

Ginastera: Danzas Argentinas

Piazzolla: Otoño Porteño

Paquito D’Rivera: Danzón

Abreu: Tico-Tico no Fubá

Thursday, November 19, 2020 at 6pm PT – The Spotlight on a Little Night Music

Information & tickets:

De Ann Letourneau, violin; Shakeh Ghoukasian, violin; Jason Bonham, viola; and Andrew Smith, cello

Mozart: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, selections

Jennifer Higdon: Amazing Grace

Price: String Quartet in G Major, Andante moderato

The Music Plays On & MusicWise

Donato Cabrera continues two online projects developed and launched in March 2020 to foster engagement and connection with the symphony audiences, colleagues in the arts industry, and friends worldwide. The Music Plays On is a series on Cabrera’s blog, featuring commentary and analysis on his favorite performances and recordings and MusicWise - Conversations about Art and Culture with Donato Cabrera is a weekly series streamed simultaneously on Facebook Live and YouTube.

Cabrera sees The Music Plays On as a way to fulfill his passion for music education while off the podium. The Mercury News describes it as “an engaging mix of music history, insights into the lives of composers, and the pleasures of discovering works we seldom get to experience. The topics aren’t relegated to classical composers — he also ruminates on jazz icons like Chet Baker and Joe Pass and even favorite rock-concert films,” with regular entries since March 14.

Cabrera hosts MusicWise on Tuesdays at 1pm PT on Facebook Live and YouTube, featuring interviews with engaging artists and civic leaders who influence and shape the cultural landscape. With each guest, Cabrera explores their background and upbringing, and how these touchstones influence their projects and initiatives, past and present. Guests also showcase and share their favorite performances and recordings, as well as responding to selected questions from the Facebook Live audience. Guests thus far have included composers Michael Torke, Katherine Balch, Viet Cuong, and Juan Pablo Contreras; violinist Alexi Kenney; cellist Nathan Chan; pianist Charlie Albright; Dr. Nancy Uscher, Dean of the UNLV School of Music; and chefs Brian Howard, Giovanni Mauro, and James Trees. Upcoming guests include composer Mason Bates on October 13; Kelly Hall-Tompkins on October 20; Drue Kataoka on October 27; and more to be announced. For more information and to watch past episodes, visit

California Symphony – New Collaboration with KUSC and KDFC

In September 2020, California Symphony launched a landmark collaboration with USC Radio Group (KUSC in Los Angeles and KDFC in San Francisco) to present a new, limited-run broadcast series. Broadcasts began weekly on KUSC on Sunday, September 13 at 7pm PT and monthly on KDFC on Sunday, September 27 at 8pm PT. Each concert program on the series showcases California Symphony’s impact on the classical music canon through the talent nurtured in its nationally recognized Young American Composer-in-Residence program. The program provides an emerging American composer with the unique opportunity to collaborate with Maestro Cabrera and California Symphony over three consecutive years to create, rehearse, premiere, and record three major orchestra compositions, one each season.

Since the residency was established in 1991, nine talented American composers have completed the program: Katherine Balch (2017-20); Dan Visconti (2014-17); DJ Sparr (2011-14); Grammy award-winner Mason Bates (2007-10), Kevin Beavers (2003-05), Pierre Jalbert (1999-2002), Kevin Puts (1996-99) - winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Music, Christopher Theofanidis (1994-96), and Kamran Ince (1991-92). Seven former alumni have gone on to be awarded the Rome Prize, including Balch who was recently named a 2020 Rome Prize winner. The Symphony’s current – and 10th – composer is Viet Cuong (2020-2023).

Full broadcast schedule and how to tune in:

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